“It’s always better to talk than suffer in silence”

Paul Kitto is the Locality Manager at Selwyn House in Yeovil.

At this very difficult and unprecedented time, I would like to raise awareness about the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) that has been a fantastic resource for me.

I had to self-isolate for twelve weeks due to underlying health conditions, which wasn’t easy. It meant having arguments with myself as I have always been a manager that is present to support my colleagues and the people we support and when that is taken away from you, and it’s beyond your control, it’s extremely tough.

On a personal note, my daughter had Covid-19 and I had to move out of my family home to isolate alone. Not being able to be there for my family was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through. But, with a great support mechanism around me, it has stopped me going insane with the emotions of guilt, and questions about ‘why us’.

I contacted our EAP as they could advise in a non-judgmental way, and to a certain extent, take the decisions away from me. They have no emotional attachment to situations but just give good, solid advice. They gave me strategies for self-reflection and problem solving, which was so important for my own mental health and well-being. Every week for eight weeks, they have contacted me with planned sessions to get me through this difficult time, which has enabled me to off-load and try to be the best I can be. This resource is worth its weight in gold from my point of view and I would highly recommend it.

I would advise colleagues who are struggling to use it – yes I have an amazing close circle of colleagues that are there for me without doubt – but I don’t think I would be where I am now without the additional support from EAP.

It’s always better to talk than suffer in silence. I still have a way to go and I am still using the service because I am still struggling in isolation.  There are days when it’s difficult to put one foot in front of the other but I am getting there!

Mental Health Awareness Week, May 18-24, 2020